Animal Science Department



Kacie L. McCarthy

Date of this Version



McCarthy, K.L.; B. Menezes, A.C.; Kassetas, C.J.; Baumgaertner, F.; Kirsch, J.D.; Dorsam, S.T.; Neville, T.L.;Ward, A.K.; Borowicz, P.P.; Reynolds, L.P.; et al. Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation and Rate of Gain in Beef Heifers II: Effects on Concentration of Trace Minerals in Maternal Liver and Fetal Liver, Muscle, Allantoic, and Amniotic Fluids at Day 83 of Gestation. Animals 2022, 12, 1925. https://


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We evaluated the effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation (from pre-breeding to day 83 of gestation) and two rates of gain (from breeding to day 83 of gestation) on trace mineral concentrations in maternal and fetal liver, fetal muscle, and allantoic (ALF) and amniotic (AMF) fluids. Crossbred Angus heifers (n = 35; BW = 359.5 ± 7.1 kg) were randomly assigned to one of two vitamin and mineral supplementation treatments (VMSUP; supplemented (VTM) vs. unsupplemented (NoVTM)). The VMSUP factor was initiated 71 to 148 d before artificial insemination (AI), allowing time for the mineral status of heifers to be altered in advance of breeding. The VTM supplement (113 g·heifer−1·d−1) provided macro and trace minerals and vitamins A, D, and E to meet 110% of the requirements specified by the NASEM, and the NoVTM supplement was a pelleted product fed at a 0.45 kg·heifer−1·day−1 with no added vitamin and mineral supplement. At AI, heifers were assigned to one of two rates of gain treatments (GAIN; low gain (LG) 0.28 kg/d or moderate gain (MG) 0.79 kg/d) within their respective VMSUP groups. On d 83 of gestation fetal liver, fetal muscle, ALF, and AMF were collected. Liver biopsies were performed prior to VMSUP factor initiation, at the time of AI, and at the time of ovariohysterectomy. Samples were analyzed for concentrations of Se, Cu, Zn, Mo, Mn, and Co. A VMSUP × GAIN × day interaction was present for Se and Cu (p < 0.01 and p = 0.02, respectively), with concentrations for heifers receiving VTM being greater at AI and tissue collection compared with heifers not receiving VTM (p < 0.01). A VMSUP × day interaction (p = 0.01) was present for Co, with greater (p < 0.01) concentrations for VTM than NoVTM at the time of breeding. VTM-MG heifers had greater concentrations of Mn than all other treatments (VMSUP × GAIN, p < 0.01). Mo was greater (p = 0.04) for MG than LG, while Zn concentrations decreased throughout the experiment (p < 0.01). Concentrations of Se (p < 0.01), Cu (p = 0.01), Mn (p = 0.04), and Co (p = 0.01) were greater in fetal liver from VTM than NoVTM. Mo (p ≤ 0.04) and Co (p < 0.01) were affected by GAIN, with greater concentrations in fetal liver from LG than MG. In fetal muscle, Se (p = 0.02) and Zn (p < 0.01) were greater for VTM than NoVTM. Additionally, Zn in fetal muscle was affected by GAIN (p < 0.01), with greater concentrations in LG than MG. The ALF in VTM heifers (p < 0.01) had greater Se and Co than NoVTM. In AMF, trace mineral concentrations were not affected (p ≥ 0.13) by VMSUP, GAIN, or their interaction. Collectively, these data suggest that maternal nutrition pre-breeding and in the first trimester of gestation affects fetal reserves of some trace minerals, which may have long-lasting impacts on offspring performance and health.